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WHEREAS, World Polio Day is held throughout the world on October 24 in celebration of the birth of Jonas Salk, the American researcher who developed the first polio vaccine in 1955; and
WHEREAS, Rotary International and its global partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) more than three decades ago when polio paralyzed 1,000 children every day; and
WHEREAS, since the launch of the GPEI in 1988, more than 17.4 million people, mainly in the developing world, who otherwise may have been paralyzed are walking because they have been immunized against polio; and
WHEREAS, more than 200,000 paralytic cases of polio are now prevented every year through this initiative, which includes Rotary International Foundation, the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to immunize the children of the world against polio; and
WHEREAS, only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have each only had one polio case so far in 2021; and
WHEREAS, the worldwide staffing and equipment infrastructure that was established by Rotary and its partners to detect and survey the polio virus as well as to deliver and administer the polio vaccine was offered to and successfully used by worldwide health authorities to carry out similar functions for fighting the COVID-19 virus, greatly enhancing that effort with minimal delay of polio eradication efforts;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 24, 2021, as WORLD POLIO DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.